Commoncraft designs whimsical Gertie cafe in Williamsburg

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

Brooklyn studio Commoncraft has designed this eatery in the borough’s Williamsburg neighbourhood, which is intended as a playful tribute to the owner’s grandmother. 

Gertie is an all-day restaurant located on the ground floor of a new, three-storey building in north Brooklyn. It spans 3,500 square foot (325 square metres) and accommodates 70 people as a counter-service cafe.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

The eatery is run by New Yorker Nate Adler of city bar Huertas, who named it after his Queens-born-and-raised grandmother.

Adler worked closely Tony-Saba Shiber and Zach Cohen of Commoncraft, formerly known as Shiber Cohen Studios.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

The aim was to “create a warm, joyful space that reflects his grandmother’s colourful, eccentric and playful style,” according to a project description.

As part of the project, Commoncraft also designed the facade for Gertie, choosing patinated copper panels and large expanses of glazing that bring in plenty of natural light.

Inside, a key element of the eatery is a portion of the ceiling that rounds down towards the back of the space, where the long custom-made counter is located. The two elements match are completed in matching pale wood.

The bar also divides the kitchen from the main dining area, and features a concrete top.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

The designers chose a predominantly simple decor throughout the restaurant. This includes pale wood floors and white-painted walls that offer a minimal, bright aesthetic.

Furniture comprises rustic looking chairs that feature brown upholstered backs and seats, and either wood or steel frames, and white tables.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

A wall mural created by Lea Carey, comprising lavender, orange, and peach tones, provides a pop of colour. Other touches include potted plants, flower vases, and copper light fixtures custom designed by Danish design office Archival Studies

Gertie also features a downstairs community and events space, and an outdoor patio decorated with a mural of ducks by local artist Sean Steed. There is also a “living room” with a record player and books to borrow.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

Local artwork is for sale, including pieces by Brooklyn artist Andrea Smith.

“I’m excited for there to be a new place in Brooklyn, that transports you to the sunny coasts, but highlights the best New York has to offer,” Adler said.

Gertie by Shiber Cohen Studios

Williamsburg, where Gertie is located, is known for its cafes, shops and nightlife, as well as its quiet residential streets.

Other places to dine in the neighbourhood include Beau cocktail bar designed by Isaac-Rae, the Hoxton hotel’s restaurant and lounge designed by Ennismore Design Studio, and a cafe within Celsious laundromat designed by Corinna and Theresa Williams.

Photography is by Andrew Fu.

Project credits:

Restaurant client: Nate Adler
Exterior facade client: Patoma Inc
Architectural design: Commoncraft (Tony-saba Shiber + Zach Cohen)
MEP engineering: Alan Schwartz
Structural engineering: KCE Consulting Engineering
Branding and graphic design: Otherness Studio
Signage: Noble Signs

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